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Seared duck breast with orange and currant couscous

This is the first in my new series “Oldies but Goodies”, recipes garnered from newsprint over the years. I’ve given credits when found. The majority of these were cut from daily newspapers published in Chicago, my home town, all but a few cut by my mom’s hand.

Preparation time: 20 minutes – Marinating time: 4 to 12 hours – Cooking time: 15 minutes – Serves 6

You will need:

For the marinade:

¼ cup orange juice, strained
Coarsely chopped zest of one orange
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
½ red onion
½ tsp kosher salt
½ freshly ground pepper
3 or 4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 or 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
6 boneless duck breast halves

For the couscous

1¾ cups water
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp kosher salt
2 cups couscous
¼ dried currants
6 orange sections pith removed, cut into 4 pieces
2 TBSP finely grated orange zest
3 TBSP fresh orange juice, strained
3 TBSP fresh mint
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

1. – T make the marinade. In a large bowl or shallow baking dish, mix all the marinade ingredients together. Put the duck breasts in the marinade and turn several times. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate, turning occasionally, for 4 to 12 hours.

2. – To make the couscous. In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boi8l and add the 1 tsp olive oil, salt, couscous and currants, stirring to mix. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Using a fork and your fingertips, fluff the couscous to separate it. Taste and adjust for salt. Stir in the oranges, orange zest, orange juice and mint. Set aside and keep warm or let cool to room temperature.

3. – Remove the breasts from the marinade and pat dry. In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat the remaining olive oil. Add the breast and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a cutting board and cut each breast into ¼ inch thick slices. Arange each sliced breast in a fan shape on a warm dinner plate accompanied by the couscous. Serve immediately.

NB: Add the marinade to the pan in which you cooked the duck, heat to a boil scraping the brown bits from the pan and cook for 2 or more minutes until slightly thickened. Pour over duck breast and couscous.

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